Environment Canada

Environment Canada

May 22, 2009 14:52 ET

Minister Prentice Marks 2009 International Day for Biological Diversity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 22, 2009) - Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Jim Prentice, today marked the 2009 International Day for Biological Diversity by highlighting Canada's achievements in environmental protection and conservation.

"Conservation is a central component of the Government of Canada's environmental agenda. We are proud of the rich natural treasures that define our land and contribute to the deep pride of place that exists within each of us; it is our government's desire to protect these treasures through a combination of efforts.

We are making tremendous progress in protecting and conserving our biodiversity, a huge undertaking and one that requires collective action from provincial and territorial governments, countless organizations and groups, and millions of individual Canadians. To date, over 100 million hectares of land, roughly 10 per cent of Canada's land mass, and three million hectares of ocean waters have been protected.

As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, we are committed to building and expanding our protected areas network, and to preserve and manage our nation's wealth of natural capital.

Today our government announced two new investments: $3.2 million in Parks Canada's Action on the Ground Program to improve the integrity of aquatic and forest ecosystems; and another $3 million in the Atlantic Habitat Partnership Initiative to help conserve habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

Over the past few years, we have taken significant action in other areas to conserve and protect our resources. For example we have:

- invested $275 million over five years for action on species at risk;

- invested more than $260 million in funding for conservation programs delivered by conservation partners. This includes $225 million for the conservation of sensitive natural areas with the Nature Conservancy of Canada; $30 million for the Great Bear Rainforest; $2 million for Stanley Park in Vancouver; $1 million for Point Pleasant Park in Halifax and $2 million over two years for Environment Canada to support the operations of the Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association.

- acquired 336 properties totalling more than 103,600 hectares through our $225 million investment in the Natural Areas Conservation Program, to protect the habitat of 74 species at risk.

- supported programs such as Habitat Stewardship Program to fund individual projects to protect species at risk, as well as the Aboriginal Capacity Building Fund and the Aboriginal Critical Habitat Protection Fund;

- set aside nearly $62 million for the Health of the Oceans Initiative to protect the waters along Canada's three coasts;

- launched the Action Plan for Clean Water with $96 million in clean-up funding to restore Lake Simcoe, Lake Winnipeg, and Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes.

Canada's government will continue to protect and conserve the natural treasures that lend form and character to our great land."

The United Nations proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. For more information on the theme for 2009 please visit: www.invasivespecies.gc.ca

(Egalement disponible en francais)


BACKGROUNDER

Since 2006, the Government has taken significant actions to conserve and protect Canada's biodiversity. The following are some examples of accomplishments in each province and territory:

British Columbia

- January 2007 - An investment of $30 million was made to set aside 2.1 million hectares of land as parks and conservancies as part of the Great Bear Rainforest (aka Spirit Bear Rainforest) and the Coastal Investments and Incentives Initiative (CIII).

- January 2007 - An investment of $2 million towards the restoration of Vancouver's Stanley Park National Historic Site of Canada which complemented funding by the Government of British Columbia and supported fundraising efforts by the private sector, and many individual British Columbians.

- July 2008 - Darkwoods, a parcel of 550 square kilometers of remote valleys, mountains and lakes in south-central British Columbia was protected through an agreement with the Nature Conservancy Canada. The land supports a tremendous range of biologically rich habitats that are home to 29 provincially-listed species at risk, such as Bull Trout, and the Red-tailed Chipmunk.

Prairie Provinces

- July 2007 - A donation of land supported through the Ecological Gift Program resulted in a property of 1,314 hectares being donated by the Harvie family to the Province of Alberta, becoming the new Glenbow Provincial Park.

- March 2009 - Through an agreement with the Nature Conservancy Canada a parcel of land totaling 3,823 hectares of private OH Ranch lands bordering Kananaskis Country west of Longview was acquired.

- February 2008 - An agreement was signed with the province of Saskatchewan for the province-wide protection and recovery of species at risk. Saskatchewan is home to 43 species at risk, including the burrowing owl, the piping plover, the swift fox and the woodland caribou.

- February 2008 - Environment Canada, the Government of Saskatchewan and Nature Conservancy Canada announced the protection of important habitat on the Big Valley Property in the Qu'Appelle Valley region. The Big Valley Property, totalling 136 hectares, is home to one of Saskatchewan's most diverse plant and animal communities.

- October 2007 - An investment of $18 million to clean-up Lake Winnipeg was made, with significant projects undertaken over the past two years.

- February 2008 - An easement purchase was made through an agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada of the Krause property, an ecologically significant parcel of land at the Elkhorn Resort in Onanole, Manitoba.

- April 2009 - A new Canadian wilderness area was declared within Waterton Lakes National Park to further protect Canada's natural heritage.

Ontario

- October 2007 - The creation of Canada's newest National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA). More than 10,000 square kilometres of Lake Superior, including the lakebed, islands and north shorelands with the NMCA boundaries, will become the largest freshwater marine protected area in the world.

- April 2008 - Over the past year investments through the Habitat Stewardship Program protected 955 hectares of species at risk habitat. Another 3,209 hectares of species at risk habitat were improved through various on-the-ground stewardship activities, including 2,119 hectares of important habitat for the Endangered Eastern Loggerhead Shrike in the Carden Plain.

- August 2008 - An investment was made to improve the water and aquatic habitat of the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority under the Habitat Stewardship Program. The investment will ensure a safe and maintained habitat for spiny soft-shell turtles and queen snakes.

Quebec

- April 2008 - Over the past year 38 projects were funded through the Habitat Stewardship Program with tangible positive impacts for 14 endangered species, 21 threatened and 25 of special concern, as well as many other species designated by the Government of Quebec.

- May 2008 - Funding to protect and conserve the St. Lawrence River was made to Strategies Saint-Laurent and the network of 14 ZIP (areas of prime concern) committees in Quebec.

Atlantic Canada

- January 2007 - An investment of $1 million was made toward the reforestation of Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.

- March 2007 - A significant investment was made toward the reforestation of Point Pleasant Park in Halifax. An estimated 75,000 trees, more than 70 percent of the park's forest, were downed or damaged by Hurricane Juan in September 2003.

- August 2008 - Funding for the conservation of important lands in Deep Cove, near Chester, Nova Scotia, was made through an agreement with Nature Conservancy of Canada under the Natural Areas Conservation Program. The lands, totalling more than 360 hectares, encompass a wide range of habitat types including mature coastal forest and wetlands.

- March 2009 - Through the Habitat Stewardship Program, funding was provided to secure and protect critical habitat areas for species at risk in four conservation projects in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. All of the species the four projects will help conserve are currently listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern.

- April 2009 - A new Canadian wilderness area was declared within Fundy National Park to further protect Canada's natural heritage.

Northern Canada

- August 2007 - An additional 5,400 square kilometres of land within the Greater Nahanni Ecosystem in the Northwest Territories was protected.

- November 2007 - Over 10 million hectares of land, one of the largest land conservation initiatives in Canadian history near the East Arm of Great Slave Lake, and around the Ramparts River and Wetlands, was withdrawn. The new protected areas are more than five times the size of Prince Edward Island.

- August 2008 - Three new National Wildlife Areas on and around Baffin Island were created, protecting local species and habitat including the bowhead whale. The Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for National Wildlife Areas and Migratory Bird Sanctuaries in the Nunavut Settlement Area, was negotiated between the Government of Canada, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., three Regional Inuit Associations and the Nangmautaq Hunters and Trappers organization.

- April 2009 - New Canadian wilderness areas were declared within Vuntut National Park and the Nahanni National Park Reserve of Canada to further protect Canada's natural heritage.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Frederic Baril
    Press Secretary
    819-997-1441
    or
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008
    1-888-908-8008
    www.ec.gc.ca